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Wired magazine highlights DPhil researchWired magazine highlights DPhil research

Andrew Cairns's discovery of a material that expands under pressure is the focus of a news article in the US tech magazine 'Wired' - the online version of which attracts an impressive 19 million unique visitors each month. The strange behaviour of Andrew's material arises from a combination of supramolecular 'springs' that absorb the 'shock' of increased pressure and a nifty geometry that converts rapid compression in one direction into a strong expansion in another direction. Now coming to the end of the second year of his DPhil in the Goodwin group, Andrew published his key results in Nature Materials earlier this year.

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Symposium Prizes for Stefan Verhoog and Miriam O'DuillSymposium Prizes for Stefan Verhoog and Miriam O'Duill

Two D Phil Students (Gouverneur group) win Poster Prizes at the 18th European Symposium on Organic Chemistry (ESOC 2013) in Marseille, France July 7-13, 2013. Stefan Verhoog received one of the three Wiley EurJOC Poster Awards and Miriam O' Duill received one of the 9 posters Awards sponsored by Syngenta. Both presented their recent work on catalytic trifluoromethylation of allylsilanes and unactivated alkenes.

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American Crystallographic Association Lecturer AwardsAmerican Crystallographic Association Lecturer Awards

Karim Sutton (Cooper Group) and Andrew Cairns (Goodwin Group) have been awarded Margaret C. Etter Student Lecturer Awards at the recent American Crystallographic Association Annual Meeting in Honolulu. Karim presented recent work on the application of macromolecular phasing techniques to small molecule crystallography, while Andrew spoke on designing new materials with large negative linear compressibility. Every year one winner is selected by each scientific interest group of the ACA.

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InhibOx awarded  EC FP7 GrantInhibOx awarded EC FP7 Grant

InhibOx, the computer-aided drug design Oxford spin-out company, has been awarded funding of €1 million by the European Commission's 7th Framework Programme as part of a €4.1 million consortium project for the preclinical development of novel treatments for multi-drug resistant bacterial infections. The consortium additionally consists of coordinator Erasmus MC, (The Netherlands), Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis (Latvia), University of Leeds (UK) and Omnia Molecular (Spain).

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Hot Paper in Angewandte ChemieHot Paper in Angewandte Chemie

A paper by Mireia Sidera, Philippe Roth and Becky Maksymowicz from the Fletcher Group has been highlighted as a Hot Paper in Angewandte Chemie. The article describes the enantioselective formation of quaternary centres by coupling alkenes and trisubstituted enones in a 1,4-addition. The reactions operate at room temperature and tolerate many functional groups.

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Nature Chemistry paper highlighted in Chemistry World and C&ENNature Chemistry paper highlighted in Chemistry World and C&EN

Lingbing Kong, Prof Ben Davis, Prof Hagan Hayley and co-workers have found a way to weaken the molecular armour of Escherichia coli to allow the host's immune system to attack and kill the pathogen. The discovery could pave the way for new antibiotic drugs that make it harder for pathogenic bacteria to develop resistance.

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Hot Paper in Angewandte ChemieHot Paper in Angewandte Chemie

A paper by Richard Hopkinson and co-workers in the Schofield Group has been highlighted as a Hot Paper in Angewandte Chemie. The article describes reactivity studies on 3 structurally distinct demethylases using alkylated and acylated lysine containing peptides. The results have revealed novel demethylase-catalysed reactions, including de-alkylations and hydroxylation

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VIP paper on DNA modification chemistry in AngewandteVIP paper on DNA modification chemistry in Angewandte

A paper from the Davis and Schofield groups that describes work by Lukas Lercher on Suzuki-biology applied to DNA has been chosen as a Very Important Paper by the referees. It describes the mildest current method for chemically altering DNA.

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VIP in Angewandte ChemieVIP in Angewandte Chemie

A paper from a collaboration between the groups of Harry Anderson, Hagan Bayley, William Barford and Tony Wilson (Engineering), has been designated as a "very important paper" in Angewandte Chemie. It reports new optical probes for electric fields in lipid bilayer membranes, which were designed to study signals in neurons.

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SCI Scholarship WinnerSCI Scholarship Winner

Ekaterina Melikhova (a 1st year DPhil student in the Donohoe group) has recently been awarded a scholarship by the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) worth £5000 to support her research, and is in recognition of her work in the synthesis of biologically active cyclic peptides.

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China-UK Entrepreneurship Competition 2013 WinnersChina-UK Entrepreneurship Competition 2013 Winners

In the recent "China-UK Entrepreneurship Competition 2013", the Boxabio Team involving Dr. Tiancun Xiao, representing Oxford Chemistry has been awarded the top prize. The team has developed a multi-vegetable based, natural functional food, which is effective for curing illness in the digestive system, such as mouth ulcers, heartburn and constipation. The project has already attracted considerable interest from Venture Capitalists and other investors. The China-UK Competition was established to encourage new business ventures between China and the United Kingdom and is intended to simulate the real-world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early-stage investors and venture capital firms. The competition is part of the PMI2 (Prime Minister Initiative II) Connect project, supported by The British Council and The Confucius Institute programme funded by Hanban. It was organized through various UK universities and The China Innovation Development Association and is the longest established university entrepreneurship competition focused on China. This year there have been more than 400 entries. Dr Xiao commented. "It is a great honour to be awarded this prestigious prize and I am delighted that our efforts have been recognized by the judges. Oxford Chemistry has a strong track record in innovation, and we hope to have more exciting results in the near future."

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Dame Carol RobinsonDame Carol Robinson

Carol received her DBE on Friday 28th June at Buckingham Palace. Her medal was awarded by Prince Charles who asked her about Mass Spectrometry and how she used it. She was awarded her DBE in the New Year Honours earlier this year for her contributions to science and industry.

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Solar Power.. The elusive promise and challenge of endless energySolar Power.. The elusive promise and challenge of endless energy

Developing a new global energy future based on solar power as input, and electricity and fuel as outputs requires innovative research and technology that is naturally multidisciplinary. A special Royal Society Discussion Meeting on "Can solar power deliver" was organised by Professor Peter Edwards, Sir Richard Friend of the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, Dr Roberto Amendolia of the Italian Embassy in London and Professor Can Li of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dalian, and covered many of the frontier challenges in solar power. The proceedings of this Discussion Meeting have recently been published in the current edition of the RS Philosophical Transactions A. Professor Edwards noted .."It was particularly important - and challenging - to try and highlight the broad range of key subjects which will serve as a useful basis for advancing solar power as a future renewable energy source. Here's to sunny days ahead !"

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On the Cover of OBCOn the Cover of OBC

The most recent issue of Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry features a cover designed by Karl Harrison and highlighting a paper by John Brown, together with Patrick Guiry and Michael Carroll, UCD. The paper is part of an RSC Web-themed issue celebrating the 60th birthday of Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford.

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On the cover of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry: Inhibition of a potential obesity drug target - FTOOn the cover of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry: Inhibition of a potential obesity drug target - FTO

Researchers from the Schofield group have reported structural and inhibition studies of the fat mass and obesity associated protein (FTO). This work follows from the assignment of FTO as a nucleic acid demethylase (Gerken et. al. Science 2007). The new work provides the first detailed structural investigations on the inhibition of FTO, which it is hoped will enable the development of potent and selective FTO inhibitors. The cover of J Med Chem features depiction of the FTO crystal structure on the left side of a balance (high FTO levels/activity correlate with increased mass) with small molecule inhibitors on the right (inhibition of the FTO enzyme potentially leads to decreased mass). An X-ray diffraction image from an FTO protein crystal forms the background. The cover art was designed by the lead author, Wei Shen Aik.

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Participants PrizeParticipants Prize

The winner of the "participants prize" at RSC Residential Medicinal Chemistry School went to Madura Jayatunga for his work on non-covalent and covalent inhibitors of the HIF1a-p300 interaction. Madura received the RSC Book Prize. Madura Jayatunga (Madu, Cancer Research UK funded) is a 2nd year DPhil in the Andrew Hamilton group.

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Professor Edwards - The Inaugural Frankland Symposium and Lecture 2013Professor Edwards - The Inaugural Frankland Symposium and Lecture 2013

The inaugural Frankland Symposium was held at Imperial College London on 8th May 2013. The annual meeting has been established to be a celebration of inorganic chemistry at Imperial and around the world, taking inspiration from Sir Edward Frankland, the first 'Inorganic' chemist at the Royal College of Chemistry, later to become Imperial College London, and the many other great Imperial inorganic chemists over the past 150 years. The event was hosted by Professor Nicholas Long, the current Sir Edward Frankland BP Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, and the inaugural Distinguished Frankland Lecturer was Professor Peter P. Edwards, FRS (University of Oxford) who delivered a lecture entitled "Metal-ammonia solutions: A discovery system for over two centuries". Over 120 staff and students greatly enjoyed this, alongside supporting lectures from Phil Gale (Southampton), Bernt Krebs (Muenster), Charlotte Williams (Imperial) and James Wilton-Ely (Imperial). Prof. Edwards was presented with a commemorative certificate to mark the occasion. Prof. Edwards noted "I am absolutely delighted - and honoured - to be the inaugural Sir Edward Frankland Lecturer. Frankland has always been one of my academic heroes - a remarkable chemist with outstanding synthetic skills and a deep thinker also!".

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Success for Part II Project Students at Undergraduate Research SymposiumSuccess for Part II Project Students at Undergraduate Research Symposium

Success for Part II Project Students at Undergraduate Research Symposium Chris Sandford and Tom Coxon, Part II project students in the Dixon and Willis groups respectively, have each been awarded prizes at the SCI Sygnature Discovery Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium held at Queen Mary, University of London on 12th June. Chris won first place for his presentation on 'Enantioselective sulfa-Michael additions to unsaturated esters using bifunctional iminophosphorane organocatalysts', whilst Tom took third place with his project talk titled 'Development of a Rh-catalysed aldehyde hydroacylation'

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On the Cover of EurJOCOn the Cover of EurJOC

Research by Professor Andrew Hamilton's research group feature on the cover of June edition of EurJOC. The cover picture shows the binding of transcription factors to nucleic acids. Top left: multicomponent protein; bottom right: leucine zipper; centre: bis-oligobenzamide peptidomimetic; background: DNA chains. The xanthene-linked bis-oligobenzamide shown in the centre is an example of a super-secondary structural protein mimic. This work details the synthesis of oligobenzamide and oligopyridylamide strands connected through various spacers, allowing tuning of the inter-helix angle and thus the potential nucleic acid or protein binding properties. Dr. Karl Harrison (Department of Chemistry, University of Oxford) is gratefully acknowledged for the production of the cover picture.

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RSC Overall Emerging Technologies PrizeRSC Overall Emerging Technologies Prize

Kylie Vincent and Holly Reeve were awarded the Overall Emerging Technologies Prize at the Royal Society of Chemistry's Emerging Technology finals on 5 June for their technology HydRegen: enzymes on carbon beads for hydrogen-driven chemical synthesis. The award was presented by Rt Hon David Willetts MP. Winners receive a trophy and a bespoke mentoring package to help take the technology forward to commercialisation.

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Top of the Guardian's University guide 2014Top of the Guardian's University guide 2014

The University of Oxford's Department of Chemistry tops the subject ranking for Chemistry in the Guardian's University Guide 2014. The Guide is based on the things students care most about when they are choosing a course.

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RSC Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize 2013RSC Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize 2013

Dr Andrew Baldwin has been awarded the RSC Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize 2013, for his contributions to understanding the quaternary dynamics that govern sizes of oligomeric protein assemblies, through NMR, mass spectroscopy (MS) and electron microscopy (Photo: The Warden and Fellows of Merton College Oxford).

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Robert Robinson AwardRobert Robinson Award

The Awards Committee of the Royal Society of Chemistry's (RSC) Organic Division has awarded Dr John Brown the 2013 RSC Robert Robinson Award. The award is John's key contributions to the understanding of the mechanisms of organometallic catalysis, and the resulting practical applications through the introduction of new catalysts for synthesis. The Robert Robinson Award is for contributions to organic chemistry from a researcher over the age of 55.

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Electronic and Optical Properties of Conjugated PolymersElectronic and Optical Properties of Conjugated Polymers

The 2nd edition of William Barford's book, "Electronic and Optical Properties of Conjugated Polymers", was published in April by OUP. This book is a topical monograph on the electronic and optical processes in conjugated polymers, aimed at postgraduate students and researchers working in the field of the electronic properties of conjugated polymers.

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2013 RSC Marlow Award2013 RSC Marlow Award

Dr Andrew Goodwin has been awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry's Marlow Award for 2013. This award is given annually in recognition of the most meritorious contributions to physical chemistry or chemical physics. The citation for the award (which comprises both a medal and cash prize) states: "awarded for his innovative studies of the physical chemistry and chemical physics of amorphous materials".

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'Order in Disorder' PSSB Cover Article'Order in Disorder' PSSB Cover Article

An article by DPhil student Matt Cliffe in the Goodwin Group has been chosen as a cover highlight by Physica Status Solidi for the special edition "Order in Disorder", which celebrates the 60th birthday of Professor Stephen Elliott (Cambridge). Matt's paper describes a new approach to quantifying local geometry and symmetry in structural models of amorphous materials.

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Chemical Structure Association (CSA) Trust Grant 2013Chemical Structure Association (CSA) Trust Grant 2013

Rob Paton receives CSATrust Grant. These grants are created to provide funding for the career development of researchers under the age of 35 who have demonstrated excellence related to the systems and methods used to store, process and retrieve information about chemical structures, reactions and compounds.

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RSC Surfaces and Interfaces Award 2013 WinnerRSC Surfaces and Interfaces Award 2013 Winner

Professor SC Edman Tsang has been awarded the RSC Surfaces and Interfaces Award 2013 Winner. The award recognises Edman's research on Nanocatalysts. The Surfaces and Interfaces Award is for outstanding and innovative research on the behaviour of chemical systems at surfaces or interfaces.

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Symposium Prizes for Ed Emmett and Rebecca MaksymowiczSymposium Prizes for Ed Emmett and Rebecca Maksymowicz

DPhil Students win 1st and 2nd Prize for research talks given at the 24th Regional SCI Postgraduate Symposium on "Novel Organic Chemistry" in London. Ed Emmett a DPhil in the Willis group won first place, while Rebecca Maksymowicz a DPhil in the Fletcher group won second place, at the postgraduate symposium held April 25th at Imperial College in London.

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Fellow of The Royal SocietyFellow of The Royal Society

Professor Christopher Schofield has been elected FRS. The Royal Society wrote that "Chris Schofield is an international-leader in functional, structural and mechanistic studies on enzymes in particular those employing oxygen and 2-oxoglutarate cosubstrates. His work has opened up new fields in antibiotic research, oxygen sensing and gene regulation. After groundbreaking work on plant and microbial oxygenases, he pioneered structurally informed functional assignments for uncharacterised oxygenases. His research identified unanticipated roles for oxygenases in regulating gene expression, importantly in the hypoxic response, and revealed new modifications to chromatin, RNA splicing proteins and ribosomes. The work has identified new opportunities for medicinal intervention that are being pursued by numerous academic and commercial laboratories."

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